Ocean Springs firefighters train for hazmat situations

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - It was hazmat training time for Ocean Springs firefighters over the weekend. So, this team suited up in their protective gear.

"Most people call those things space suits or moon suits, but they provide best protection for any chemical we know to this day," Lt. Brad Chennault said.

Then the firefighters practiced handling toxic contamination situations.

"To get out here, get your hands on the equipment. And get in it and do some hands on training is good for when we do have these calls in the real world," Firefighter William Sudduth said. "We are not trying to fumble around and trying to figure out how to operate the equipment."

Of course, this is just training, but firefighters said it is important to prepare for the worst.

"We have had some hazmat scene. We had some meth labs and a few chemical spills where we actually had to keep the hazard from getting into the streams and the waterways around the here," Chennault said.

One of the mock exercises included simulating a large chemical spill in the community and firefighters had to work fast to get it under control.

"If you notice on the side of barrels they had a placard on the side of it and that is our way of identifying the product that is in the actual barrel," Chennault said.

"In this particular case this one chemical we couldn't put water on it. So we had to use a special extinguisher to put it out. You get out there, get in that suit and it's warm," said Sudduth about the training.

A decontamination unit was also setup for more training.

"It is the actual way to get the contaminants off all the suits. You get the contaminants, and you're not brining those contaminates to the station, putting them in trucks, or bringing them home with you," Chennault said.

Although this training was challenging, the firefighters said it is worth it.

"Some chemicals just breathing it in is enough to kill you. So, we have to be prepared to keep these people here that we have dedicated our lives to helping and protecting making sure they are safe," Sudduth said.

The hazmat training is done quarterly. The Ocean Springs firefighters also hold medical, fire, and emergency vehicle driver training throughout the year for the team.

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